While ignorance about vaccines led to the disability in his leg, it was a freak accident that made K. Mohammed Rafiq, a BCA graduate from Mettupalayam, lose his right arm when only a child.

Born with all his faculties intact, the first blow came in the form of polio when Rafiq was five years old. Born to an uneducated daily wage earner father and a homemaker mother, the stagger in his walk did not hamper his love for education or eagerness to participate in sports. And, it was the latter that cost him dearly in the form of another disability.

Attempting a high jump with friends in school, Rafiq broke his elbow trying to avoid a bad fall. A tightly tied bandage snapped a nerve that led to his forearm being amputated in just three days of the accident.

Rafiq was in Standard III when the accident happened and it was only then that he had started developing an interest in computers. He used to work on computers of those who had it at home or in computer cafes. He says even then he knew his heart lay in computers.

Even when he lost his forearm and had to spend three months in a hospital, he did not lose heart. With the support of his parents, teachers and friends, he made up the portions lying in the hospital bed and at the same time got trained to write with his left hand.

He went to school for his Standard IV with a renewed vigour to learn computers. His parents did not deprive their son of his desire and even while in school Rafiq did many short-term courses in programming.

He managed to get a home computer while in Plus-Two. Well ‘armed’, he joined BCA at Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University.

On completion, he wrote TANCET and qualified to become the first rank holder to attend the Tamil Nadu MCA counselling 2013 that began here on Monday, under the differently-abled category. He took a seat at his alma mater under the lateral entry scheme introduced this year.

Rafiq’s mother, who had accompanied him, was the happier of the duo. “Though we are not educated and have very less means, we have never minded spending money on education,” she said.

Rafiq’s dream is to become a software professional in an IT company. There were 19 others like him who attended the MCA counselling, overcoming disability to study further and make a mark in life.

There were orthopedically challenged, visually challenged, and hearing and speech impaired candidates who got admitted under the three per cent disability quota.

Braving hearing and speech impairment, S. Rajeshwari, daughter of an agricultural labourer from Villupuram, chose to study MCA in Presidency College, Chennai, where she completed BCA.

She too joined in the lateral entry mode.

The lateral entry mode was much favoured by toppers because it saved them a year of study.

General counselling for admission to MCA degree courses offered in Government, Government-aided, and self-financing engineering, and arts and science colleges of Tamil Nadu for the academic year 2013-14, which will begin here at the Government College of Technology on July 23 would end on August 3. There are a total of 5,439 candidates appearing for the counselling.

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